“They are choosing to keep investing in their professions, rather than shifting to a less rewarding but more traditional job. To me that sounds more like freedom than servitude.”
This sound great compared to nothing, but nothing isn’t the right object of comparison. I’m sure some people are choosing to work in the sharing economy rather than having a traditional “day job.” However, this choice is forced upon many people because the traditional day jobs don’t exist anymore. In 1988, I worked as a waitress. That relatively low-paying job offered a comprehensive health insurance package that included dental, vision, and 50 weeks of psychotherapy. I had regular hours and tips were relatively predictable.
What these companies offer is not the equivalent of the no-brainer office clerk gig or the restaurant job of the past. What they offer is day labor like the guys who stand in front of the paint store in my old neighborhood. This is not new; they’ve been there for 25 years. Many of them are there because they have no working papers. Nobody pretends that this is a great, flexible gig — or that it is a choice in any meaningful sense of that word.